Even Grounds Participates in a Forum on Employment for the Blind in the Philippines
A forum on the employment of blind and visually impaired individuals was held on March 12, 2010 at the Resources for the Blind Incorporated (RBI) in Manila, Philippines. This forum was organized by the employment coordinators of RBI. Julius Charles Serrano, research director of Even Grounds, was invited as one of the primary participants of the forum.
The main goal of this forum was to determine how RBI can improve its employment assistance program. Since 2002, RBI has provided pre-employment trainings for blind and visually impaired individuals. In this project, RBI has also communicated with employers and recommended the persons who have completed its pre-employment training.
Although RBI has helped a number of blind and visually impaired individuals in finding suitable jobs, the rate of employment was still significantly low. RBI’s employment coordinators therefore decided to invite representatives from the government and non-government groups, former pre-employment trainees looking for work, and blind and visually impaired individuals who are presently working.
During the forum, Resources for the Blind and the participants discussed the issues that affect the rate of employment of blind and visually impaired persons, specifically those who have completed their pre-employment training. Discrimination and prejudice against blind job applicants were the main issues pointed out by the group. Mr. Serrano added that issues concerning the rate of employment among non-disabled individuals also affected the employment rate of the blind. These issues include underemployment and a lack of skills in the part of the applicant.
The group then determined the possible solution that can be done to solve the issues they identified. A consolidated program focused on creating awareness among employers and companies was the main solution developed by the group. This program will consist of documentaries and materials proving to employers that blind and visually impaired can become competent members of any company. Mr. Serrano contributed to this discussion by providing the concrete reasons why hiring persons with disabilities is a good idea.
At the end of the forum, the group determined the components and steps involved in making the awareness program. Mr. Serrano will work with the subgroup responsible for making an accessible website containing information about the proposed program.